Local Journalism Initiative
Instead of going to Discovery Camp this summer, kids in Hinton might be spending time with each other in the Hinton Kids for Success program.
Hinton Kids for Success re-opens to the public for full-day care on July 6 and runs in place of Discovery Camp, which Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) isn’t offering this year due to COVID-19 restrictions on group sizes, outings, and capacity.
Hinton Kids for Success is normally an out of school program operated by FCSS throughout the school year for children aged five to 12, but this year the program will be back for the summer months.
FCSS received a lot of community feedback from parents who didn’t have much going on this summer and FCSS felt it was important to make sure they still had some care, stated Jenna Altrogge, FCSS assistant manager.
The care provided by FCSS this summer more closely aligns to the full day care or out of school care for Hinton Kids for Success.
Some of the fun Discovery Camp activities normally organized by FCSS every summer, like field trips, won’t be possible this year, Altrogge said.
“But we’re still going to try to get the kids outside and do as many fun activities as we can with the precautions,” Altrogge added.
Some creativity will be required by the staff for the kids activities, as full group activities are no longer possible, Altrogge said.
Big scavenger hunts, or games in the park also won’t be happening this summer.
“The biggest change is just what those activities look like and finding ways to make them fun and engaging and rewarding for the kids,” Altrogge said.
Altrogge added that the focus on developmental activities in the program remains.
“It’s still high quality developmentally appropriate childcare with a focus on giving kids the opportunity to build relationships and have adventures during the summer. We’re just going to have to find creative solutions to what that looks like,” Altrogge said.
Hinton Kids for Success and Discovery Camp are operated by the same staff but typically use different facilities.
In previous years, Discovery Camp ran out of the recreation centre, which remains closed due to the pandemic.
Programming was moved to the West Fraser Guild for this summer, which is the regular Hinton Kids for Success space.
The program will operate during the same hours as Discovery Camp would have operated this summer.
In a normal year, Discovery Camp takes up to 60 kids, but this year FCSS can only take 24 kids in Hinton Kids for Success.
Altrogge said the days are filling up with registries but that there is still room. Parents can choose which days to sign their kids up for, which allows some flexibility.
Within the program, FCSS staff will split up into 10 person cohorts, including one staff member.
To allow more physical distancing, those groups won’t interact with other groups.
Staff normally divide kids by age groups to allow more developmentally appropriate programming, instead staff will try to keep families together to reduce contact this summer.
Extra cleaning is also part of the daily routines, like making sure the bathroom and kitchen are thoroughly cleaned after each use.
“We also require parents to do a daily check of all the kids. A daily survey to make sure they don’t have any symptoms and we’ll be issuing daily temperature checks as well,” Altrogge said.
The program will run from 7:45 am to 5:30 pm at the West Fraser Guild. Parents can register their kids online via hinton.ca/hkfs or call (780) 865-6036.